Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Excerpt from the First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving given by the Continental Congress in 1777:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance;...

Can you imagine Congress making such a statement today? 
Mentioning Jesus by name?  Shocking!

One of the reasons that I like holidays (a word derived from the phrase Holy Days) like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter is that it gives us an opportunity to stop, reflect and celebrate what God has done.  The Jewish people of the Old Testament certainly understood this principle.  
They took Holy Days very seriously and spent weeks at a time on some of them.  
Even weddings were extended celebrations.  
We are missing that in our modern culture.

Unfortunately, I think many of us don't stop.  We actually ramp up into higher gear.  Guests coming over, visiting relatives, dinners to cook, houses to clean, games to watch, presents to buy, etc.  The purpose of the holiday gets lost, stress increases, relationships strain.  Been there?  The only reflecting going on is about how to get home as quickly as possible.  Celebration?  Maybe a nap.

Take this as a reminder, which I think we need to hear every true Holy Day celebration, to pause from activity, truly reflect on the meaning behind the day, put aside differences (you can always be mad at Uncle Joe next week), put effort into bonding rather than repelling each other, and give God the gratitude and honor He is due.

Onward and upward.

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